‘America’s Got Talent’ Winner Croons in Cocoa Beach
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. performs Wednesday at Heidi’s
by Mike Nunez
A remarkable rags-to-riches story, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. was the “singing car washer” who surprised America with his renditions of classics by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and more. After walking away with the $1 million grand prize from NBC’s sixth season of “America’s Got Talent,” Landau released his debut CD “That’s Life,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard jazz charts.
He makes a stop at Heidi’s Jazz Club in Cocoa Beach on Wednesday. Heidi’s has hosted local and national talent since Heidi and Eddie Deleuil opened their doors in 1992.
QUESTION: How different is life now that you won “America’s Got Talent”?
ANSWER: Life changed only in the fact that I am now able to earn a living by singing. Before AGT I was singing for charity and raising money for those less fortunate. Now I am able to do what I love and provide for my wife and kids.
Q: Was it hard to adjust to sudden stardom?
A: Not really. I was singing since I was 3, so I felt like I was always out there in front of people. I just thank God every day that he steered me to AGT; that gave me the opportunity to just be on a bigger stage.
Q: When people meet you who didn’t know you from the show, are they surprised by the genre of music you sing?
A: Oh, yes. You wouldn’t expect me to be doing crooner classics. No one would. If you looked at me you would think I would sing Bob Marley or some R&B music. I guess that is what shocked the world when they first saw me on the show. I feel God preserved me for the right moment to be seen by the world. I grew up in the YouTube era, but no one ever caught my show on tape, or ever uploaded it to the Internet, so when I went on AGT that was the first time people ever got to see what I was all about. I like the music because it isn’t degrading to women, it isn’t talking about “bling bling” or anything else that makes people feel less about themselves. It is good, honest music that sounds as good today as when it was first recorded. It’s timeless music that doesn’t insult anyone and can be listened to by everyone.
Q: What can you tell me about the book you are writing?
A: It is really just telling my story and about the hard times I had growing up on welfare. I went from West Virginia to a very (rough) part of Detroit. I had to learn how to adapt and get along with all types of people. I learned how to talk my way into or out of just about any situation. God gave me the blessing of being able to adapt.
Q: Are you working on a new album?
A: I am working on a Christmas CD that is almost complete. I am going to be finishing it up when I get back to Hollywood with producer Jeff Webber. I will also work on another crooners classic CD.
Q: Do you have any plans to record original music as well as covers?
A: I will have at least four or five original tracks on the new CD. I think every artist wants to record originals because that is what defines you as an artist. If all you do is covers, people sometimes look at you as a glorified karaoke artist. I am proud of what we have put together. I selected every member of the band, and we are ready to tour the country. Everything is going great and I look forward to taking that step in doing original music.
Q: Take us back to when you were washing cars and singing. How did you go from there to auditioning for AGT?
A: I had fallen on some hard times. I had just been robbed, and they stole everything from me. The clothes I was wearing on those TV pieces were the only clothes I owned. I didn’t have anything to lose and God spoke to me. He lead me to try out. I needed a bigger stage and the opportunity, and he gave it to me. I was at my mother’s and Howie Mandel was doing a commercial for the show, and I knew that is what I had to do. I went in with no intentions, no expectations and am blessed to have won the show.